NHS website - How do I check someone's pulse?

How do I check someone's pulse?

You can check a person's pulse by putting 2 fingers on the inside of their wrist or on their neck.

To measure the pulse in someone's wrist:

  • hold the person's arm so it's straight, with the palm of their hand facing upwards
  • place your index (first finger) and middle fingers on their wrist, at the base of their thumb
  • using a clock or watch that counts seconds, count how many beats you feel in a minute, or count them over 30 seconds and multiply the number by 2 to work how many beats a minute
  • if you can't find their pulse, try moving your fingers around a bit and pressing a little harder

To measure the pulse in someone's neck:

  • place your index and middle fingers on the side of their neck, in the soft hollow area just beside their windpipe
  • using a clock or watch that counts seconds, count how many beats you feel in a minute, or count them over 30 seconds and multiply the number by 2 to work how many beats a minute
  • if you can't find their pulse, try moving your fingers around a bit

A normal resting heart rate for an adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute. But this can vary, depending on things such as age, stress levels, fitness and any medication the person is taking.

Read the answers to more questions about accidents, first aid and treatments.

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